Mid-June Drop Dead Date for Birds at Lehigh
Lehigh dean of athletics Joe Sterrett said today that school officials and the Eagles have decided to make the call around mid-June on the viability of holding 2011 training camp in Bethlehem, where it has taken place every year since 1996.
Previously, Sterrett had said Lehigh would like to know what's up by early June, so the school could schedule a sports festival or something to fill the gap, if the Eagles weren't going to use their late July through mid-August dates because of the NFL lockout. Sterrett said today Lehigh has "looked around and hypothesized" but almost certainly isn't going to be able to pull any replacement event together for this summer.
Sterrett said "the needle hasn't moved at all" on the Eagles or the school having a better idea of whether camp will happen. Sterrett said of the Eagles, "they're kind of preparing both ways." He said the school needs to be able to start moving students in around the third week of August, so if camp gets pushed back, it won't be held at Lehigh. Most likely, if the Eagles hold a delayed/shortened training camp, it will be at NovaCare, where the team agreed when it built the facility not to host public workouts.
Observers feel a decision from the Eighth Circuit three-judge panel on the legality of the NFL's lockout probably won't come before late June, and even that doesn't guarantee a quick settlement, so it's very possible the Eagles and Lehigh will have to make the call in mid-June with no more feel for the situation than they have now.
No doubt, people on both sides of the impasse are getting fidgety, but there are a lot more players than owners and missed time has a bigger impact on a player's career than an owner's. Agent Joe Linta is in the news today for asking why it is he wasn't allowed to examine the NFL's last collective bargaining offer, and show it to his 45 clients. Eagles free agent safety Quintin Mikell tweeted today that he thought Linta had a point.
Eagles players at an informal workout yesterday also seemed a bit restless and frustrated over the pace of the process.